In more ways than one, the Ubiquiti Switch Enterprise 8 PoE (model USW-Enterprise-8-PoE) -- what an odd name! -- is a lesser alternative to the Zyxel XS1930-12HP. It has fewer ports, a lower Multi-Gig grade, and a less powerful PoE standard.
Despite the "Enterprise" notion, the new switch is easy to use. It's a plug-and-play device that requires no setup, though savvy users can customize it further.
If you have a relatively cool and airy place to mount it, this new switch is an easy recommendation. You might even love it.
Ubiquiti Switch Enterprise 8 PoE: Not a typical “Enterprise” switch, in a good way
Out of the box, the Ubiquiti Switch Enterprise 8 PoE looks great with a touchscreen and a solid build. The switch is heavy and feels sturdy. And it comes with everything to get it up and running, including mounting accessories and a standard power cable.
You can use any IEC-320-C13 power cord designed for most desktop computers with an internal PSU with it. However, the included one has a groove to work with an integrated locking mechanism that prevents accidental unplugging. It's a nice touch.
The Enterprise 8 PoE can stay on a surface or mount on a wall. It comes with a base that makes mounting and dismounting an easy job -- you hang this base on the wall first and then snap the switch on it. Ubiquiti even provides a bubble level in the package -- like with the U6 Enterprise access point -- to help with the job.
As suggested by its name, the new Enterprise 8 PoE has eight PoE ports -- all Base-T 2.5Gbps Multi-Gig. Additionally, it has two SFP+ (10Gbps) ports.
SFP+ vs BASE-T
This type is known via a misnomer called Registered Jack 45 or RJ45. So we'll keep calling it RJ45.
On the other hand, the SFP or SFP+ (plus) port type is used for telecommunication and data communication, mostly in enterprise applications. SFP stands for small form-factor pluggable and is the technical name for what is often referred to as Fiber Channel or Fiber.
For data communication, an SFP+ port has speed grades of either 1Gbps or 10Gbps. The older version, SFP, can only do 1Gbps, though it shares the same port type as SFP+. This type of port standard is more strict in compatibility and more reliable in performance.
While physically different, BASE-T and SFP/+ are parts of the Ethernet family, sharing the same networking principles and Ethernet naming convention -- Gigabit Ethernet (1Gbps) or 10 Gigabit Ethernet (a.k.a 10GE, 10GbE, or 10 GigE).
Generally, you can get an adapter to connect a BASE-T device to an SFP or SFP+ port. Still, in this case, compatibility can be an issue -- a particular adapter might only work (well) with the SFP/+ port of certain hardware vendors.
The BASE-T wiring is more popular thanks to its simple design and flexibility in speed support. Some routers and switches have an RJ45/SFP+ combo which includes two physical ports of each type, but you can use one at a time.
For comparison, the Zyxel XS1930-12HP features two SFP+ ports, but its ten PoE++ ports are all 10Gbps Mulit-Gig. The table below will highlight the differences between the two.
Ubiquiti Switch Enterprise 8 PoE vs Zyxel XS1930-12: Hardware specifications
|Full Name||Ubiquiti Switch Enterprise 8 PoE||Zyxel XS1930-12 Multi-Gigabit Smart Managed PoE Switch|
(W x D x H)
|9.8 x 7.9 x 1.7 in|
(248 x 200 x 44 mm)
|12.99 x 9.06 x 1.73 in|
(330 x 230 x 44 mm)
|Weight||5.29 lbs (2.4 kg)||6.17 lbs (2.8 kg)|
Wall mounting accessories
Rack mounting kit
|Multi-Gig Ports||8x 2.5Gbps Multi-Gig |
|10x 10Gbps Multi-Gig |
|PoE Ports||8x IEEE 802.3at (PoE+)||8x IEEE 802.3bt (PoE++)|
|Switching Capacity||80 Gbps||240 Gbps|
|Touchscreen||1.3" screen with horizontal and vertical scrolling||None|
|Management||Optional vendor-assisted UniFi-OS Controler or desktop software||Optional local Web user interface,|
Zyxel Nebula Cloud
|Power Supply||Built-in power supply supporting standard desktop power cord,|
|Built-in power supply supporting standard desktop power cord,|
(per 24 hours -- no PoE devices)
|≈ 530 Wh||≈ 490 Wh|
Ubiquiti Switch Enterprise 8 PoE: Detail photos
Simple plug-n-play setup, helpful touchscreen
The Ubiquiti 8 PoE switch is dead easy to set up.
All you have to do is plug it in, and that's it, just like any unmanaged switch. Use one of its ports to connect to the existing switch or router, and the remaining ports will work as extensions of the wired network.
One thing to note: for the best and most reliable performance, you should use one of the SFP+ ports for the uplink connection. An SFP+ to RJ45 converter is necessary if your existing network doesn't have an available SFP+ port.
After that, if you want to view the switch's status or change some simple settings, you can use its little touchscreen, which is fun and helpful.
The screen includes four sections that show various settings and conditions of the switch accessible via vertical and horizontal swiping. It also has animations for the boot process, firmware upgrades, screensavers, etc.
You can customize many aspects of this screen itself, such as its brightness or how long it'll stay on, or turn it off, in which case, it'll come back on when you touch it.
No built-in web user interface, optional controller software
The Enterprise 8 PoE doesn't have a built-in web user interface, nor does it work with Ubquiti's UniFi mobile app. However, like any Ubiquiti's business hardware -- similar to those in the UniFi family -- it is designed to be managed via an UniFi-OS hardware controller.
Alternatively, you can install the UniFi Network Application (UNA) software to turn any desktop into a controller. UNA is a Java-based application that enables a vendor-linked web interface -- you have to first log in with an account -- with in-depth access to Ubiquiti's UniFi and Enterprise hardware.
I tried that out with the switch and could use its more advanced features, including port settings and bandwidth management, as shown in the screenshots above. However, none of these extras is essential for any home.
And there's no point in installing the UNA software just to use the switch. That only makes sense when you have multiple Ubiquiti UniFi or Enterprise hardware units. But in that case, it's best also to use a real hardware controller, like the UDR or a higher-end UniFi router.
Generally, for home use, it's best to treat the Enterprise 8 PoE as a standalone unmanaged Multi-Gig PoE+ switch. There's no point in complicating things unnecessarily.
Ubiquiti Switch Enterprise 8 PoE: Reliable with excellent Multi-Gig performance
I used the Ubiquiti Switch Enterprise 8 PoE for over a week and was generally happy with the experience.
The switch delivered excellent performance via its 2.5Gbps ports which also worked well as PoE power senders. I tried them with multiple PoE devices simultaneously, including a BC500 cam, the U6 Enterprise, and a few other PoE+ Wi-Fi access points, and they all worked flawlessly.
The Enterprise 8 PoE is not a PoE++ switch, so if you have PoE++ devices requiring higher power draws, you'll need a different switch, like the Zyxel XS1930-12HP. Or you can get a separate injector.
Regarding throughput speeds, it was a bit complicated for me to test the Enterprise 8 PoE.
On the one hand, its 2.5Gbps ports are straightforward. On the other, I don't have enough SFP+ devices to use the two ports simultaneously.
In the end, I had to use two TP-Link TL-SM5310-T adapters for the testing, and it was impossible to know if they caused them to perform slower than a true 10Gbps connection, as shown on the charts. Considering the uplink role, though, the SFP+ ports' sustained rate, in my case, was still more than fast enough.
Overall, the Enterprise 8 PoE proved to be a fast 2.5Gbps Mulit-Gig switch. Its performance was on par, if not better, than others of similar specs I've tried.
Runs hot and requires long boot times
Like the case of the U6 Enterprise, the Ubiquiti Switch Enterprise 8 PoE seems to have no internal fan -- I didn't open it up to confirm -- and ran quite warm in my testing. It wasn't hot enough to cause concern but warmer than other switches. So, it's best to place it somewhere airy or cool.
Another thing to note is that the switch takes a long time to boot, varying from three to even five minutes. That's not a huge deal unless you're the impatient type. But all other switches I've tested generally need less than a minute to be ready.
Ubiquiti Switch Enterprise 8 PoE's Rating
Eight Multi-Gig PoE+ ports, two SFP+ ports
Reliable and fast performance; plug-n-play by default with the option to deliver more when coupled with Ubiquiti's UniFi or Enterprise controller
Thoughtful design; helpful touchscreen; silent operator
No built-in local web user interface
Lowest Multi-Gig port grades; no 10Gbps Base-T Uplink port; no PoE++
Runs hot; long boot time
Despite the name, you can safely think of the Enterprise 8 PoE as an unmanaged Multi-Gig switch. At least, that's how it'll work right out of the box.
And that ease of use plus the fast and reliable performance -- both as a Multi-Gig switch and a PoE+ sender -- make the Enterprise 8 PoE worth the sub-$500 cost. Considering the thoughtful design and the helpful touchscreen, I'll be generous and even call it a good deal.
Those running a full Ubiquiti-powered UniFi or Enterprise network will get the bonus of further customizing its ports and managing its bandwidth, all in the same place with their existing controller and hardware. But they already know that.